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Survey: Costco, Trader Joe’s are best retailers of 2018. See which ones were the worst

A new consumer survey shows America’s love affair with Trader Joe’s and Costco continues, but overall customer satisfaction was down last year.

A new consumer survey shows America’s love affair with Trader Joe’s and Costco continues, but overall customer satisfaction was down last year.

The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index survey ranked the best and worst retailers of 2018 asked more than 62,000 consumers to choose favorite department and discount stores, specialty retailers, supermarkets and e-retailers, among others.

A score of 100 was best. Top retailers scored in the 80s, with most chains clustered in the 70s. Poor customer service was mostly responsible for dragging down scores, with the last two yearly surveys showing overall declines in customer satisfaction across all retail categories.

“There is a slump in customer satisfaction in every category of the retail sector,” said David VanAmburg, ACSI managing director, in a news release. “Internet retail versus brick-and-mortar retail, department stores versus specialty stores, it’s all down. Considering the importance of retail to overall consumer spending, this decline is a big deal.”


The survey rated a total of 22 grocers in more than a dozen categories, including quality of mobile app, convenience, cleanliness, selection, sales and promotions and speed of checkout.

The Top 5: Trader Joe’s (86); Wegman’s (85); Aldi and Publix tied (84); Costco (83); H-E-B (82); and Sam’s Club (80).

At the bottom: Save-A-Lot, Southeastern Grocers (which operates Winn-Dixie and Fresco y Mas), Supervalu tied (76) Albertsons (75); and Walmart (72).

Of note: Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix’s rank is slipping. It ranked 2 percentage points higher in the 2017 survey. Whole Foods landed in the middle (79). Target scored lower (78).


The report showed that retailers continue to struggle with online shopping.

Wholesale clubs cleaned up in this category. Costco was tops (83). Sam’s Club ranked next (80); BJ’s Wholesale Club, Dillard’s, Kohl’s and Nordstrom tied (79.)

At the bottom: Meijer (76); Big Lots (75); Dollar General (73); Walmart (72); and Sears (70).


Retailers selling clothes, home improvement, pet, office and automotive supplies also shoed overall declines.

The top retailer of 27 ranked was L Brands (Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works —82); Barnes & Noble (81); Ascena (which operates Dressbarn and Lane Bryant), Cabela’s and Menards tied (80).

In the bottom of this category was Boca Raton-based Office Depot (77); Burlington (76); Home Depot (76); Dick’s Sporting Goods (75); and GameStop (74).


When it came to online shopping, mobile apps got high marks, but checkout and payment process ratings slipped from 2017 by 2 percent. Other areas scored in this category were site navigation and performance, variety of shipping options and usefulness of product images.

Costco was once again at the top of the heap (83). Amazon came in second (82) followed by Etsy, Kohl’s, Nike and Norstrom (81). Apple, eBay, HP Store, Macy’s, Newegg, Overstock, Target and Wayfair tied, and ranked in the middle (80).

The bottom five: Staples, Walgreens (76); GameStop (75); Walmart (74); and Sears (73).